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Hong Kong Squash Open

Dream fulfilled as Joey Chan takes centre stage at the Hong Kong Squash Open

  • Home favourite earns the right to play in the state-of-the-art glass court
  • But she has a huge task ahead of her as she takes on Egypt’s No 2 seed Raneem El Welily
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 9:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 2:14am

Joey Chan Ho-ling has earned the right to take centre stage after reaching the quarter-finals of the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Open.

Chan fulfilled her dream of playing on the glass court and that’s a big deal for her having been banished to the uninspiring and characterless outside courts, which has been home to her for years.

On Friday, the 30-year-old Hong Kong favourite will mix it with the best after sending Egypt’s Yathreb Adel packing with a 3-1 victory (11-2, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8) in just 34 minutes at the Squash Centre in Admiralty. Victory earned her the right to play in front of a much larger audience. Around 600 spectators will be on hand to watch her in action and she can’t wait to show her worth.

“This is the first time I beat [Yathreb] Adel in three meetings. I lost my previous two meetings against her so I’m just happy I did it today,” said the world number 19, who became Hong Kong’s sole survivor after Yip Tze-fung was beaten in the men’s last 16. “It’s not easy to beat an upcoming player like Adel. Her game is very deceptive typical of the Egyptian players.”

Chan said she had done her homework and had been quietly confident of getting one over her opponent.

“Fortunately I studied her well before the game and always took the initiative and didn’t allow her to dictate the pace. My shot making was accurate and I scored many important points.”

Chan’s perseverance and dedication have earned her the right to play in the adjacent Hong Kong Park Sports Centre, which presents a huge boost for Chan, who has never played in the state-of-the-art facility before.

“Before only the semi-finals would take place in the glass court,” she said. “I’ll treasure this opportunity and put up a good fight for the home crowd.”

Chan has reached the last eight at the Hong Kong Open before in 2014, losing that game to Malaysia’s former world No 1 Nicol David.

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Chan will also be hoping to match Annie Au Wing-chi’s semi-final appearance in 2013 but won’t be thinking that far ahead.

“My focus is on the next match and it doesn’t matter if it’s the best result for Hong Kong,” said Chan.

“It is going to be very difficult facing the number two seed. I need to prepare well, physically and mentally, before going on to court again.”

Chan faces a huge test against Egypt’s Raneem El Welily, a player whom she lost in all four previous meetings, including the 2011 Hong Kong Open when Chan was narrowly beaten in five games in the quarters.

“She is an experienced player and a very good all round player,” said Chan. “I won’t think too much about the game and just focus on doing my best.”

Chan became the Hong Kong’s sole survivor in the HK$2.57 million tournament after Yip lost to eighth seed Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt. The 2016 world champion prevailed in three games 11-8, 11-7, 11-9.

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“It was three close games and I was able to lead in the opening stages of all three,” said Yip. “But Gawad came back each time and finished off the game, handling the big points better.”